Thursday, November 20, 2008

Narrowly avoided

Josh Marshall:
I don't want to draw over-broad interpretations. But historically, the rising incidence of piracy has frequently, if not always, been a sign of the receding reach of whatever great power has taken on responsibility for policing the sea lanes. The decline of the Hellenistic monarchies in the Mediterranean before the rise of Rome. Caribbean piracy during Spain's long slide into decrepitude and before England decided she lost more than she gained from it. There are many examples. I note too that the Russians just announced that they're sending a few more warships to try to get things under control off the coast of East Africa.
The EU is sending an armada as well. Man, there's so much to talk about with this kind of issue. Do I blog about how the combined forces of the industrialized world don't have the necessary assets to put down piracy off the coast of east Africa? Do I blog about how this is a good example of why it's probably a bad idea to go around creating failed states in places like this? Or do we talk about the possible signal of the EU finally emerging as a global military actor in it's own right?

Well, lucky for you I don't have the time to write about any of those things so you're spared a few hundred words of my prose. Ha-ha!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If I can express a preference, the EU as military actor would be the most interesting. I've been wondering when they would get around to it, and I'm curious as to why now? As opposed to earlier. Maybe because there's a new President in the White House, and a new administration, one that the EU speculates is either less likely to be irritated at someone else being Sea-Cop, or is going to be so preoccupied with leaving Iraq and beefing up Afghanistan that it won't mind a bit of help in an area it can't see to?

The first topic (short version, Where are all the Navies?) would be interesting too. I've wondered why the South China Sea piracy troubles haven't been dealt with by some similar armada, though I suppose if the West undertook it China would get anxious. And joint operations might be iffy; I can imagine both the US and EU wouldn't necessarily want China to get a close look at its naval capabilities, and probably vice versa. So nothing gets done.

In the Somalia area, at least, there is no close-by superpower that might object, though now that I think about it I wonder just how eager the EU and any US contingent might be to work alongside the Russians, for the same reasons.

Yep. This is going to be worth watching.